Among other things, it shows how you can use face markings to tell us individual tompot blennies apart.
As you can see from the photo I have an angular sloping ‘M’ shape mark just under my eye and my photographer and marine biologist Paul Naylor uses this face marking as well as others on the front and other side of my face to be sure it is me he is looking at! He has recently realised we are all different and has built up a collection of ‘mug shots’ (photographs) for all the tompot blennies that he sees regularly on my reef. Being able to name each of us by our face markings has made it easier for him to understand our behaviour.
Paul now knows we have fights over territory and females, we can stay in our crevice homes for at least 4 years and I have guarded the eggs of several different females for at least 2 years. This information has just been published by him and David Jacoby (Zoological Society London) in the Journal of Fish Biology. So I’m now an important research fish too!
This link will take you to a slideshow that tells you more about it: wtru.st
I’ve noticed that the days are getting longer again so it feels as if spring is nearly here. The divers, Teresa and Paul, have just managed to swim along to see me again in between storms. They visited in January but didn’t see much of me as I was tucked away at the back of my crevice. This time they noticed that I’d been busy cleaning it out ready for inviting in the local female tompot blennies. I’ve carefully flicked out any sand and debris left by the storms, so the floor and ceiling are clear and ready for them to stick down their eggs. I’m the best at this job!
It’s a pretty important time of year for me as there’s a lot more activity around my reef. I’ve kept control of my crevice all winter but, as spring kicks in, many of the other younger males will try their luck fighting me for my territory! I’m bigger, older and wiser than them so am confident of keeping it. Paul has got close-up photographs of my face markings so that he’s sure it’s definitely still me that’s here!
By the time they next dive to see me, they might be able to see the eggs I will be proudly protecting!
It’s World Book Day today, have you seen my book?
In Benny the Blenny’s Shallow Sea Adventure you will be able to read all about me and my neighbours: crabs, cuttlefish, sea anemones, starfish, seals and fish that live on my reef. Do I eat them or do they try to eat me? Take a look at it here: www.amazon.co.uk